Genetic Counseling Program

Untitled Document

Public Health Genetic Counselors: Roles, Knowledge, Skills and Where to Learn.   By Mallory Schultz

Background: Recent data show that genetic counselors are working in public health roles.  However, these data only indicate the genetic counselors whose primary role is public health.  Genetic counselors may participate in public health activities but not consider themselves a public health genetic counselor, or realize that the activity relates to public health.  The goals of this study were to determine the number of genetic counselors engaging in public health activities, the skills being used in those activities, and where skills were learned.  Methods:  A novel survey was developed to assess respondents’ participation across five categories of public health: population-based screening programs, education of the public and/or health care professionals, research, lobbying/public policy and state chronic disease programs.  Results:  Participants reported working in all five categories of public health. A majority reported activities in education and screening.  Eighty four percent of participants (n=131) reported spending 0- 40% of their working hours in public health activities.  Participants most commonly reported learning skills “on the job” and in genetic counseling training programs.  Conclusion: Genetic counselors have a skill set that allows them to participate in many areas of healthcare, including public health.  This skill set is developed in genetic counseling training programs and broadened “on the job.”

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  • "I chose to attend UNCG because of its shared learning environment and the access to some of the leading institutions in the country. "

  • "UNCG is a great fit for me. The program directors have extensive experience in the world of genetic counseling and provide you with opportunities to work with some of the best medical centers in the country. Our location allows us to have expert guest lecturers, many of whom you also get to work alongside or observe in your clinical rotations in your second year. We also have some really wonderful and unique opportunities as a part of this program: we observe in syndrome specific support groups and clinics, tour genetic laboratories, and are matched with a family with a genetic disease to learn what it is like to live with a genetic condition. Finally, our directors are genuinely invested in each of us, and care about our success and getting to know each of us personally."

  • "The director and assistant director do their best to ensure that our program provides a collaborative learning experience.  Both are active members of the Genetic Counseling community and strive to introduce you to all aspects of this field.  We also have renowned clinical sites and the beautiful state of North Carolina at our disposal.”